Ah- the ever-present, never-ending to-do list. Whether scribbled on designed, organizing sheets or typed into a smartphone app – but do we ever ever check everything off? And then there’s the pile of papers to go along with it. If you’re a parent, this may be dominated by permission forms, tests, progress reports and volunteer forms to sign and return, presumably before the deadline. Then there's the sale you missed, the coupon that expired. Every now and then, I wonder if there’s a better way to go about this necessity of life, other than the scribbled long lists on my calendar pages or the clipped stack of index cards, I’ve been employing. But I like that system, so I’m not trying to abandon it, just improve upon it.
Recently, I came across this idea of “43 folders.” Although new to me, this tickler system seems to have been around for a while. With the 43 folders plan, you have- yeah, you guessed it – 43 manila folders, each labeled 1-31, for the days of the month, and for each month. All the stuff that you have – primarily all those papers that you have to do something with – you stick in the folders for the day (of the current month) or the month that you need to do it. Each day, you pick up your folder and do whatever’s in it. At the beginning of each month, you move all the stuff from the folder and distribute them to the appropriate day folder.
I like this idea, and I like folders, but 43 folders sitting on my desk seems like a whole lot of folders. Plus, I generally plan out my to do list and meal plan along with my schedule. Doesn’t make sense to make a long to-do list on the day I have to be running around to meetings or with the kids, that’s just a set-up for disappointment of not checking anything off. So I’ve modified this idea and am trying out a new plan.
How-To: Calendar To-Do
- I printed my weekly calendar from Google Calendar. Yes, I still have the paper date book, but also keep an electronic version so my family can input and access our schedule, too. And I do like the reminder feature – a text or email to remind you of where you’re supposed to be.
- All those papers that have some kind of due date - permission slips, bills, library books due slip, invitations – I sorted by week. I could also add coupons, restaurant discounts, sales ads, and other random things that have an expiration date.
- Clip the sorted papers behind the calendar page when they should be done.
- Each week, I have that packet of papers that are due, my calendar, and I can jot additional reminders on the calendar page.
I’m in week 2 of this new system. We’ll see how it goes.
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